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View Full Version : Who is digging holes in my pasture?



marshcat
12-28-2014, 08:35 AM
I found about 20 of these holes in a 10'x10' area in one of our pastures this morning. If it was warmer I might think it was an off peak hatch of cicadas. Also, it looks like something dug into the ground rather than something emerging from under ground. Any ideas?
https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-gYr4amaZl-8/VKACpzKIl6I/AAAAAAAACBo/CHBadWwboXQ/s512/IMG_20141228_073604788.jpg

jonboy
12-28-2014, 09:12 AM
Alien settlements. They got the scale wrong. acknowledgements to D Adam's idea that after travelling for millions of light years in a fleet of warships armed to the teeth to invade earth, the entire Vogon invasionary battleforce got here and was swallowed by a dog.

Seriously I'd go for the cicadas theory...some have a once in fourteen year cycle which might account for them not having been seen in recent memory.

katey
12-28-2014, 09:48 AM
Skunk looking for grubs?

George Jung
12-28-2014, 09:51 AM
http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?&id=HN.607993620912406760&w=300&h=300&c=0&pid=1.9&rs=0&p=0

Gerarddm
12-28-2014, 10:40 AM
Voles?

Glen Longino
12-28-2014, 11:36 AM
Armadillos do that here.

Sky Blue
12-28-2014, 12:13 PM
Perhaps a buck. The holes are made by the buck's antlers as he browses short greens on the ground. Do you have deer in the area?

Phillip Allen
12-28-2014, 12:27 PM
skunk, armadillo, even squirrels... probably the skunk though

Phillip Allen
12-28-2014, 12:28 PM
Perhaps a buck. The holes are made by the buck's antlers as he browses short greens on the ground. Do you have deer in the area?

ya kin tell which ones are doing it by the divots on their antler tips

Chip-skiff
12-28-2014, 02:47 PM
Voles eat grass and fine leafy stuff, and winter under the snow or under brushpiles or overhanging streambanks. Birds sometimes peck holes like that, going after grubs. Not sure how they know where to dig- maybe the grubs make a noise. The size of the holes and the presence of clawmarks would narrow it down. The funnel shape that narrows at the bottom seems more like the trace of a beak than digging with paws.

I love this sort of puzzle.

skuthorp
12-28-2014, 03:02 PM
Funnel web spiders, they live in holes in the ground.

http://australianmuseum.net.au/Uploads/Images/1880/dang_08_big.jpg

Yes, yes I know, you don't find them in Virginia. But it was an opportunity not to be wasted :d

Phillip Allen
12-28-2014, 03:06 PM
be sure to stuff rags under all the outside doors before you go to sleep tonight... nothing to worry about though... don't forget the rags

Breakaway
12-28-2014, 04:23 PM
A wanderer;
carrying a spiked hiking stick;
jabbing at the ground.



Kevin

Boston
12-28-2014, 04:40 PM
birds

purri
12-28-2014, 05:15 PM
certainly not bandicoots or echidnas.

goodbasil
12-28-2014, 05:35 PM
jonboy has nailed it.

George Jung
12-28-2014, 05:53 PM
Cicadas don't make a conical 'hole' as in the OP. I couldn't find anything from 'birds searching for grubs'. Closest in appearance is skunks digging grubs.

Live trap needed! I'se gotta know!

Phillip Allen
12-28-2014, 05:55 PM
put a jack in the box near where the digging takes place and rig a trip wire... you'll know if it's a skunk the next morning... or sooner

J P
12-28-2014, 06:36 PM
Dung beetle maybe.

I like those knives, have the same in my pocket.

Boston
12-28-2014, 06:44 PM
Its birds, I've seen similar holes left by wild turkeys in colorado. If there's some bug they like, they'd dig and scratch. Are their any tracks ?

Jimmy W
12-28-2014, 06:57 PM
How big are the holes? I watched a pair of Northern Flickers digging up grubs not too long ago. They feed on the ground very often.

http://www.libirding.com/FlickerFreddyW.jpg

Paul Pless
12-28-2014, 07:06 PM
obviously one of these :D

http://animalsadda.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Anteater-8.jpg

marshcat
12-29-2014, 08:14 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. My thoughts on what has been suggested so far:

aliens - always possible, never probable
ant eaters - wrong continent
armadillos - wrong climate
cicadas - wrong season
dung beetles - not sure, probably would see it more often
spike buck - maybe, but doubtful as the spot is near a barn and dogs
northern flickers - maybe, we have them around
skunk - most likely, based on George's picture that looks very similar to what I am seeing
squirrels - would see it more often
spiders - probably too cold, although there are a bunch in the manure pile. It steams at night.
turkeys - possible, as we have several around, but there are no big scratch marks
voles - would see it more often
wanderer - possible, but there was no lingering scent of patchouli oil, whisky, or weed
woodcocks - we are in their range, but I have not seen any in 19 years of living here. I saw some in northern Virginia

I am thinking skunk or bird. I may put the game camera up there, but I don't know if it will happen in the same spot.

Phillip Allen
12-29-2014, 08:41 AM
Thanks for the suggestions. My thoughts on what has been suggested so far:

aliens - always possible, never probable
ant eaters - wrong continent
armadillos - wrong climate
cicadas - wrong season
dung beetles - not sure, probably would see it more often
spike buck - maybe, but doubtful as the spot is near a barn and dogs
northern flickers - maybe, we have them around
skunk - most likely, based on George's picture that looks very similar to what I am seeing
squirrels - would see it more often
spiders - probably too cold, although there are a bunch in the manure pile. It steams at night.
turkeys - possible, as we have several around, but there are no big scratch marks
voles - would see it more often
wanderer - possible, but there was no lingering scent of patchouli oil, whisky, or weed
woodcocks - we are in their range, but I have not seen any in 19 years of living here. I saw some in northern Virginia

I am thinking skunk or bird. I may put the game camera up there, but I don't know if it will happen in the same spot.

well... THAT narrows it down

Chip-skiff
12-30-2014, 06:56 PM
There are quite a few birds with long, sharp beaks who dig holes. Clark's Nutcrackers (probably not in Virginia) bury pine nuts and later dig them up. Flickers, woodpeckers, crows, ravens, and jays dig for grubs and worms. Magpies were pecking out peas I'd planted until I put some mesh down, leaving holes much like those pictured. If birds are responsible, keep a watch around dawn and dusk, as they're unlikely to be doing it at night.

marshcat
01-14-2015, 11:52 AM
I left the game camera on a fencepost near the holes for a few days, and all I got was this guy. I am not convinced he was doing the digging, as it would probably be much messier. I saw some Flickers in the general area, but they may be too small to trigger the IR camera.
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-ALpACqntP8A/VLad9tPKYPI/AAAAAAAACCw/Fm-Z7KrNWBQ/s640/EK004001.JPG

George Jung
01-14-2015, 11:55 AM
Aren't those game cameras a kick? Nice photo - and fun thread.

marshcat
01-14-2015, 12:21 PM
Aren't those game cameras a kick?

I love mine, and I stopped hunting several years ago. They are way more versatile than I would have guessed before owning one. I move it around based on any interesting sign I see. I have also used it to keep an eye on off-limits rooms while contractors were working in the house. When it is not moved to an interesting spot, I keep it on a tree pointed at the drive, where it snaps pictures of any vehicles that go in or out. With a 32 gig SD card I only clean it off every few months.

Boston
01-15-2015, 05:32 AM
Yea I'm still thinking birds